Please tell us a little about yourself. I love reading and I review and promote Indie authors. For fun I watch films and TV series, make news scrapbooks and chat on book groups.
On average how many books do you read a month? 15. I’m a fast reader and there are also time limits on my reviews sometimes so I need to keep on top of things.
What genres do you enjoy? urban fantasy, horror, dystopian, paranormal
Where do you tend to review? I review on Goodreads, Amazon, Amazon UK, Smashwords and have started my own book blog for reviews and author promotion.
I have my own bookgroup on goodreads as well: https://www.goodreads.com/group/show/48169-my-big-fat-booky-challenge-athon
Why do you review? It used to be just for myself and my early reviews weren’t very good, full of swearing and sarcastic comments. Now I try to write fuller and more constructive reviews, without personal attacks or nasty comments that give the author some feedback, and give potential readers more detailed information about the book. A low star review doesn’t have to be a totally negative experience if you fully explains your reasons for giving it.
What are your opinions on authors commenting on a review – negative and positive? It is nice to hear from an author that liked your review and it has led me to have great discussions about the book and make new author friends. It’s a good way for reviewers and authors to connect. The problem comes if the author does not like your review. I don’t think that authors should contact reviewers to complain or rant about not getting what they wanted. If you submit your book for an honest review, it is rude to attack the reviewer for having a different opinion of your work, unless that review has personal attacks.
What are your opinions on “sockpuppetry” after the scandals of well-known authors leaving bad reviews for competitors? If an author honestly did not enjoy the book, he/she has the same right to express this as any normal reader, if the review is fair. However I don’t agree with smearing a rival out of spite. You can’t have much faith in your own ability if you spend all your time trying to damage other authors. Readers buy multiple books in their favourite genres so it seems like a waste of time as well as being petty.
What are your opinions on a well-written review? What should it contain and how do you feel about personal comments listed in reviews? I like reviews that are balanced, where the positive and negative points of the reading experience are listed. It is important to also explain why you liked or didn’t like something, as this gives important author feedback. I like to see a point made about writing style, worldbuilding, storytelling, character development, plot and who the book might appeal to. This gives the reader a lot of information about the book. It can be useful to tell readers if there is gore, sexual content and swearing so they can make an informed choice. Making personal remarks about an author just because you hate the book is wrong and childish.
Do you find yourself being suspicious of a book with only 4 and 5 star reviews? No, not really. I’m not greatly influenced by reviews when I go to buy a book. I’ll buy a book if I like the sound of it regardless of the star rating.
Do the reviews of others influence your choices? What attracts you to read a book? I read my friends reviews if they recommend something to me but in the end I make my own choice based on the blurb. If the blurb doesn’t make the genre clear ie between UF and PNR, it is useful to look at reader reviews without spoilers and see what they say. Based on that, I’ll make a decision about whether or not it sounds right for me. I’m attracted to a book by genre and plot.
Do you deal with reviewing Indie books differently to how you review a mainstream book? No. I like to judge each book on its merits and not by it being mainstream or Indie. I do give leeway to a bit of dodgy editing, spelling mistakes etc in Indie books. I won’t mark anyone down for that unless it was impossible to read.